Les Ober, Geauga County OSU Extension
In 2014 Ohio was ranked 6th in maple syrup production in the United States with 130,000 gallons. This is based on the official ranking released by USDA National Agricultural Statistic Services (NASS). Despite the odd ball year, maple syrup production dropped very little in the United States. In 2013 the U.S. produced 3,523,000 gallons in what was considered to be one of the best years ever. In 2014 the U.S. produced 3,167,000 gallons in what many felt was a short season. Also, most of the production came at the end of the year in late March and April.
As always Vermont remains the perennial leader with 1,480,000 gallons. In Second place was New York with 546,000 gallons and hot on NY’s heels, in third, was Maine with 545,000 Gallons. In fourth position was Wisconsin with 200,000 gallons and 5th was Pennsylvania with 145,000 gallons. Actually, 130,000 gallons is respectable in a year when it almost looked like we would not have a maple syrup season at all. The year also had an effect on Ohio’s production per tap which slipped to 0.289 in 2014 from 0.352 in 2013. This is predictable if you factor in the short amount of time that you actually had to produce syrup. Even though NASS recorded January 10th as the opening date (based on the earliest reported date in the state), many producers never tapped on until the first of March. The closing date (again the latest reported date) was an unheard off May 3rd. Most years Ohio is done no later than mid-April. This show just how odd this year was.
Crop value is another interesting area to look at. This is always reported for the previous year, in this case 2013 when Ohio produced over 150,000 gallons. This is where things get a little off track. In 2012 the average price of a gallon of syrup was $42.50 in 2013 the average price was $36.90. In fact in 2011 it was $42.10 and $42.70 in 2010. Even though we made a lot of syrup in 2013 it is hard to believe that that supply pushed the retail price down by $5.00 per gallon across the entire state. If fluid syrup dropped that much then I sincerely hope producers are making it up at the other end with value added products. The truth is that Ohio is trending toward lower retail sales and higher bulk syrup sales. We are simply shipping are syrup off to big packers in the east and the west. They in turn are sending some of that syrup back to Ohio under an out of state label. The question is are Ohio maple syrup producers taking advantage of all of marketing opportunities that may be out there. For example Massachusetts and Connecticut produce less syrup than Ohio but they work hard to retail 50% or more of their syrup locally. New York markets over 30% of their syrup locally and is working hard to build their brand. The biggest surprise is that Vermont producers sell over 80 % of their syrup bulk. How much of that stays in Vermont is unknown.
The thing that producers need to take home form this report is that Ohio is making steady gains not only in production but in the value of the product they produce. In 2013 Ohio sold almost $6,000,000 worth of maple syrup alone that does not include value added products. Products like candy nuts and maple cotton have become very popular and make up a large percentage of a producers retail sale. Also not considered in the NASS report is the value of associated industries such as equipment t dealers and the big one tourism. Maple Syrup is truly a growth industry in the state of Ohio